Sleep apnea may increase the risk of serious complications in people who have undergone angioplasty to clear blocked heart arteries, according to research.
The new study included 241 patients who underwent angioplasty. Their average age was 64 years, and the patients were followed for about six years.
Of those patients, slightly more than half had sleep-disordered breathing, which includes sleep apnea and snoring. Sleep apnea is a common and chronic condition, according to the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). In sleep apnea, breathing stops or becomes shallow during sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes, the NHLBI says.
Sleep-disordered breathing was detected through heart and respiratory monitors used overnight after the procedure, the researchers said.
During the follow-up, 21 percent of patients with sleep-disordered breathing had major heart events, including heart attack, stroke and heart failure. In people who didn’t have sleep-disordered breathing troubles, the heart complication rate was just 8 percent, the study found.
People with sleep-disordered breathing were also more likely to die during the follow-up, the findings showed. However, the study can only show an association between these factors, not a direct cause-and effect link.